Water Utilities May Face Virus-Linked Protective Gear Shortages

Nearly three in four water and wastewater treatment plants are worried about running out of masks, gowns, and gloves to protect workers from the deadly coronavirus, according to a survey of utilities.

The survey, released late Tuesday, reveals that the same proportion of utilities are also concerned about being able to keep workers 6 feet apart at all times to prevent transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19.

The findings are a snapshot of the concerns a subset of the nation’s water and wastewater utilities shared with the nonprofit American Water Works Association, which conducted the survey March 25-30. Responses came from 532 utilities, and the margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

With the nation grappling to keep the coronavirus pandemic in check, clean and safe running water for washing hands and other cleaning has been deemed an essential service.

Water Board Grants Arant Emergency Powers to Maintain Operations

At Monday’s remote meeting of the Valley Center Municipal Water District board, directors approved an Emergency Powers Resolution, granting Gen. Mgr. Gary Arant Emergency Powers for a 120-day period during the current Coronavirus/Covid-19 (virus) Pandemic Event.

The resolution gives Arant the power the modify the ability of the public to access the district office at 29300 Valley Center Rd., “including closing the facility to all public access.”  

Arant is also empowered to “Modify staff duties, work schedules, methods, and locations, including, but not limited to staff working remotely, sheltering at home and responding remotely, responding from on-call status remotely, re-assignment to different divisions and departments, requiring staff to work at different locations at district facilities, requiring staff to reasonably restrict movement and interaction with other staff members, assigned staff duties and responsibilities, and requiring staff to work out of class on a temporary basis.”